'These Robes Make Me Human': Manafort Judge Apologizes to Prosecutors for Behavior

'These Robes Make Me Human': Manafort Judge Apologizes to Prosecutors for Behavior

Day seven of the Paul Manafort trial took a technical turn Wednesday, an indication that prosecutors could be wrapping up their case against the former Trump campaign chairman.

Rick Gates, Manafort's long-time deputy, acknowledged having made "many mistakes over many years" but insisted he was telling the court the truth about the alleged financial misdeeds of his former boss. In the filing, they argued that Ellis should instruct the jury that he made an error in admonishing them during the testimony of IRS agent Michael Welch. "I thought he was needlessly evasive and argumentative", said Barbara McQuade, a former U.S. Attorney in MI who has been watching the trial and said she observed jurors reacting with negative body language as he testified.

He barked at U.S. Attorney Greg Andres to "focus sharply" - a common refrain of his over the past week - when Andres asked permission for Magionos to testify about charts she put together detailing the flow of money from Manafort's foreign accounts to various vendors in the U.S.

As he has repeatedly noted, President Donald Trump is not directly implicated in Paul Manafort's Virginia trial. Gates said that these loans were actually income.

According to a court transcript, Downing had agreed in a conference on Tuesday with the judge and prosecutors not to raise the subject with Gates, a longtime business partner of Manafort's.

Another witness, Citizens Bank Vice President Peggy Miceli, said Manafort would not have gotten the $3.4 million loan if the bank had known it was a rental property.

Moreover, Manafort remains a central figure in the broader inquiry into the Trump campaign's dealings with Russia, including a 2016 Trump Tower meeting at which Russians promised "dirt" on Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and his role in watering down the 2016 Republican Party platform position on Ukraine.

Gates, who pleaded guilty and is cooperating with Mueller's prosecutors, testified in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, that he helped Manafort falsify documents and move millions of dollars from offshore accounts that were hidden from US tax authorities. Gates, a married father of four, had testified he used his firm's money to carry on the affair.

Malaysia's former PM Najib to be charged with money laundering
Najib, 64, has accused Malaysia's new government of seeking "political vengeance" and vowed to clear his name in his trial. Najib arrived at the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) office at 5 p.m. (0900 GMT) in a four-car motorcade.

Gates, Manafort's longtime right-hand man, pleaded guilty in February to one count of conspiracy against the United States and one count of lying to an Federal Bureau of Investigation agent in exchange for testifying against his former boss.

"WTF", Mr Manafort wrote in response, "How could I be blindsided like this".

Manafort, Trump's former campaign chairman, is accused of bank fraud and tax evasion. "When I exclude witnesses I mean everybody, unless I make a special exception". "It has nothing to do with your consideration in this case", he said, adding: "This robe doesn't make me anything other than human". Trump often boasts that he hires "the best people", and the sixth day of the trial showcased two people who worked for him, one who allegedly tried to use his influence in Trump's circle to boost someone he had a sketchy financial relationship with, and another who admitted under oath that he may have stolen money from Trump's inaugural committee.

Those who dealt with Manafort's taxes also testified that even though they asked Manafort whether he maintained any bank accounts overseas, he told them no.

Rick Gates has been the government's star witness in Manafort's financial fraud trial, testifying how, at the behest of his longtime boss, he helped hide millions of dollars in foreign income and submitted fake mortgage and tax documents. The crimes Manafort allegedly committed do not have bearing on that central question, but they were uncovered in the course of the special counsel investigation; this is the first trial resulting from Mueller's probe.

But Ellis is acknowledging to jurors that he went overboard when criticizing prosecutors for allowing an expert witness to remain in the courtroom during the trial. They expect to wrap up their case this week.

So far, the trial has in large part steered clear of direct allegations about the Trump campaign. That includes longtime Manafort deputy Rick Gates, who testified against his former boss.

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